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By Don Nelson, President of the Board

Friends Volunteers Make A Difference. Thank you!

When you visit the refuge, you may not realize that there are many volunteers with the Friends that help make your experience both enjoyable and informative. Possibly your first experience with a Friends Volunteer will be with those that greet you at the Visitor Center store when you enter, and help you with purchases.

But you may not realize that it is our Friends volunteers who do so many things behind the scenes:

  • Determining which books should be available to you to purchase in the book store.
  • Stocking the book store.
  • Providing educational outreach for the youth programs such as puddle stompers.
  • Making the images and printing the pictures that you see in rotating exhibit in the Riparian Room.
  • Staffing and developing the curriculum for the Youth Summer Camp.
  • Restoration work on other units that are normally off-limits to visitors.
  • Developing programs and meetups for the photo society.
  • Putting in many hours in service on the Board and in the various committees on the Board.
  • Website development for the Board.
  • Putting out the newsletter.
  • Developing the Friends materials.
  • Developing the program and staffing the Bird Festival.
  • Putting together the rotating exhibits you see in the main lobby of the visitor center.
  • Collecting materials and curating the extensive nature teaching materials that are in the educational classroom.
  • Even the Friends Tax return is prepared by a volunteer tax preparation specialist doing pro-bono work.

These are just a few of the many volunteer activities. There are too many to list.

The Friends are very grateful for the many hours that our volunteers put in as unpaid service.Many of these volunteers earn The President's Volunteer Service Award with hundreds of documented hours. We could not keep the programs running or the building open without these essential volunteers.

Some of you may be thinking you would like to volunteer. From the list above, you can see that no matter what your skill or interest, you can find a volunteering home with the Friends.

Store Volunteers – we are looking for all of you that served over the past ten years the visitor center has been open:

The store committee is having a ten year store recognition event for current, and former volunteers in the store. Contact 503-625-5944 ext 227 and leave a message if you would like to reconnect as a prior Store volunteer. The event is on February 3, so don’t delay.

And a special note on Summer Camp:

After long deliberation and reflection we decided to cancel this year’s summer youth camp. But, we will be back in 2019 with a refreshed camp curriculum, grant funding, and more focused goals! There were many factors involved in making this decision. One of them had to do with funding. One of the Friends tenets is that programs need to be self-supporting through grants, fees, donations, and/or sponsorships. Last year's camp ended up in the red. And, the grants we were seeking would not be awarded until May which is too late for us to react if we did not win the grant. The financial risk penciled out with very likely red ink if we held one this summer.

Postponing the camp for one year creates an opportunity to allow us to secure funding to keep camp costs down as well as offer some scholarships to needy children. This breather gives us an opportunity to review and refresh the curriculum, and define clear goals for who we will serve.

We want to recognize all of the great work so many of our volunteers have contributed to our summer camp program. It is a lot of work to put on the event. Please stay with us while we make the camp the best it can be next year. If you have questions, feel free to contact Tom Hartz, Education Committee Chair, or myself.


Bottle Drop Oregon

New Year, New Redemption Changes in Oregon

New containers were recently added to Oregon's Bottle Bill, including juice, energy drinks, and Kombucha. These are now redeemable for 10¢.

One filled bag generates about $10 dollars for the Friends.

Here is how it works:

  • Pick up a Blue Bottle Drop Bag at Nature’s Overlook Store for free
  • Return the filled bag to your local Bottle Drop Redemption Center by scanning the bar code and dropping it through the redemption door- no need to wait in line and there is not a limit on redemption of Blue bags.
  • Or- drop off your filled blue bag at the Refuge Friends’ office and we will drop it off
  • It’s that simple!

Fred Meyer Community Rewards

The more you shop, the more the Friends earn

The Kroger Family of Stores is committed to bringing hope and help to local communities. They do this through a unique Community Rewards Program of Fred Meyer. It is simple to sign up for the program. Just follow the link on the newsletter and each time you shop at Fred Meyer you will be supporting the Friends. If you think you have already signed up- double check the next time you are at Fred Meyer to make sure, they were asking that rewards members recommitted to what nonprofit they would like to support.

You are now able to link your Rewards Card to your favorite nonprofit by following the link below. Whenever you use your Rewards Card when shopping at Freddy’s, you will be helping that organization earn a donation from Fred Meyer. If you do not have a Rewards Card, you can sign up for one at the Customer Service Desk of any Fred Meyer store.


Friends of TRNWR currently has 24 households signed up in the Fred Meyer Rewards program. The Friends received $109.65 for purchases made between Oct- Dec of 2017.



Here’s a great new book for the little children in your life: “Moonlight Animals” – it has a special effect – there is a pretend flashlight built into the edge of each page – when you move it, it magically illuminates animals hiding out in the darkness to reveal deer, owls, and all sorts of creatures. It’s charming.

And something great for kids and families: “The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save the Earth”. Check it out!

And, I’ll be ordering plenty more of these for the shop, because I need a copy…

And, rain, rain, rain … for older kids. Another excellent book from DK. All about weather, NOT JUST RAIN!



What a superb month the Photo Society has had. Our speaker for this month was Scott Burns, geology professor at Portland State University. He gave an outstanding talk on the Missoula Floods while showing lots of excellent pictures that gave us a real feel for the Washington Scablands as well as the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, and the Willamette Valley.

This past weekend, the Photo Society held a meetup to photograph bighorn sheep and elk in Washington. While the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wasn’t actively feeding the elk (no snow up around Yakima so plenty of high country feed available), they were feeding the Bighorn Sheep. We saw over 240 Colorado and California bighorn including rams, ewes, young and lambs of the year. Quite a show and just feet away behind a 10 foot high mesh fence that was easy to photograph through (but they left the gate open for us after we agreed not to go beyond). A few pictures accompany this article. On the way home we stopped to view the landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge, then at The Dalles Dam to photograph bald eagles fishing.

What’s coming up for the Photo Society?

In February we will talk about photographing birds in flight on Thursday, Feb 1, at 7pm in the Riparian Room. This will be followed by a meetup to try out our newly learned skills in bird flight photography.

We are looking at plans for a meetup in eastern Oregon to photograph the night sky at several locations. This will be in May or early June, after a presentation on night sky photography on the first Thursday evening of May.

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Amphipian Egg Mass Survey
Feb 3, 8am - noon

Waterfowl Watch 101
Feb 3, 10am - noon

Amphipian Egg Mass Survey
Feb 9, 8am - noon

2nd Saturday Work Party
Feb 10, 8:45am - noon

Owl Prowl
Feb 13, 6pm - 7:30pm

Amphipian Egg Mass Survey
Feb 14, 8am - noon

Puddle Stompers
Feb 14, 1pm - 2:30pm

Puddle Stompers
Feb 20, 10am-11:30am

Amphipian Egg Mass Survey
Feb 24, 8am - noon

Owl Prowl
Feb 27,  6 - 7:30pm

Friends Board Meeting
Feb 27, 6:30pm






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We want to hear from you! Send us your ideas and comments: info@friendsoftualatinrefuge.org.